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Colonel Reba Sanders

SE alumni, Reba McEntire takes the World by storm with her new role as KFC's Colonel Sanders.

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SE alumni, Reba McEntire takes the World by storm with her new role as KFC's Colonel Sanders.

Anna Kelly, Staff Writer

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Kentucky Fried Chicken has announced that they have a new Colonel Sanders, and he— or should we say, she, is a Southeastern alumni. Country music star and Oklahoma native, Reba McEntire was debuted on January 25 as the southern fast food chain’s first female spokeswoman.

KFC has introduced a new barbecue flavor to their classic menu, the ‘Smoky Mountain BBQ’. This new flavor was inspired by Carolina and Memphis styled barbecues. Due to this new menu option, the marketing team at KFC decided Reba was the perfect voice for the southern inspired barbecue.

According to an interview conducted by FOX News, KFC’s Chief of Marketing, Andrea Zabumensky shed some light on the new spokeswoman. “With Reba’s southern roots and entrepreneurial spirit, she truly embodies the values of the Colonel and the crowd-pleasing flavor of our Smoky Mountain BBQ. The pairing of a universally loved music legend like Reba with a universally appealing flavor like Smoky Mountain BBQ makes what I like to call ‘Smoky Mountain Magic.’”

Many Americans have expressed their reluctance to accept a woman playing a traditionally male role. This reluctance is due to Americans viewing a woman acting a male role as being portrayed as a transgender. However, KFC has specifically stated in their first commercials that Colonel Sanders is still a male character and to “please ignore any likeness to a famous country singer.”

America, overall, has become more accepting towards the LGBTQ+ community. However, like many issues facing America today, the South is still very conservative. Because of this conservatist view, many Americans are choosing to believe KFC’s spokesperson choice to be a progressive political stance. Before turning this into a political controversy, it is important to remember the past.

James M. Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan’ is the story of a young and magical boy who never wants to grow older. Released for public viewing in 1924, this film featured Betty Bronson, a woman, as Peter Pan. In 1914, the actor Charlie Chaplin played the ‘wife’ on ‘A Busy Day.’

In ancient Greek theatre and English Renaissance theatre, men had to cover every role because women were not permitted to perform. Greek and English men have been portraying women characters since before 700 AD. In the acting world, cross-gender acting is referred to as ‘Travesti’, and is just as common now as it was generations ago.

KFC has been a southern fast food staple for generations. Regardless of the controversy, Reba McEntire is graciously proud to be a part of the commotion. “I grew up with Kentucky Fried Chicken. It’s part of my story, and I’m so excited to now be part of theirs.”

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